Addo Elephant National Park
Addo Elephant National Park is an elephant park situated close to Port Elizabeth in South Africa and is recognized as one of the country's twenty national parks. It is also a stop on the African Swim Safari tour.
The original park has subsequently been expanded to include the Woody Cape Nature Reserve that extends from the Sundays River mouth towards Alexandria and a marine reserve, which includes St. Croix Island and Bird Island, an important breeding habitat for gannets and penguins, not to mention a large variety of other marine life. Bird Island is home to the world's largest breeding colony of gannets - about 120,000 birds - and also hosts the second largest breeding colony of African penguins, the largest breeding colony being St Croix island. This forms part of the plan to expand the 1,640 km² Addo National Elephant Park into a 3,600 km² Greater Addo Elephant National Park.
The expansion has meant not only that the park contains five of South Africa's seven major vegetation zones (biomes) but also that it is probably the only park in the world to house the so-called "Big 7" (elephant, rhinoceros, lion, buffalo, leopard, whale and great white shark) in their natural habitat.
The park receives about 120,000 visitors annually. International visitors make up 54% of this number, with German, Dutch and British nationals making up the majority.
There is a main camp, featuring a swimming pool, restaurant, flood lit water hole and various accommodation, four other rest camps and four camps run by concessionaires.
More than 450 elephants, 400 Cape buffalo, over 48 endangered black rhino as well as a variety of antelope species. Lion and spotted hyena has also recently been re-introduced to the area. The largest remaining population of the flightless dung beetle (Circellium bacchus) is located within the park. The flora within the AENP is quite varied, and like all plant life, is a central factor to the ecological system in place. Several species of rare and endemic plants, particularly succulent shrubs and geophytes are native to the South African region within the AENP. Many species are under environmental pressure, however, and are facing a possible extinction.